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Preface. ix

affected to describe. The experience of the last fifty years has shown, perhaps more than that of any other period since Henry III. and Edward I., that the Constitution is no stiff and formal mechanism, but a natural and necessary product of all the latent forces of the national life and character. In no period has political action been more restless and energetic, and legislation progressed more rapidly and courageously. Nevertheless, the great and deeply-graven lineaments which mark out the English Constitution from every other are as distinct as they were at the accession of William IV. If they have altered or widened, they have done so only by keeping pace with the steady and widening impulses of the advancing national temperament, in obedience to the call of a civilisation which may properly be termed new.

It is thus no longer to lawyers and law-books alone that reference must be had for ascertaining what is the mode of government under which the English people live. Far rather is it to the utterances of statesmen, to critical acts of public policy, to the conduct of Parliamentary majorities, and to the assumptions of the Executive Government. The review is thus becoming far more political than legal, and still more ethical than either. Thus this treatise

is dedicated as much to establishing a new method, as to bringing to light a train of special facts to which the method is applied.





Indirect initiation of money grants by the Upper House . 23

Mr. Lowe on the predominance of the Lower House . . . 26

Abolition of Purchase in the Army by Royal Warrant . . 28

Power of the Crown to force a vote in the Lords by creation

of Peers 29

Mr. Gladstone"s justification of the proceeding by Warrant . 30

Macaulay and Wellington on the impotence of the Lords . . 32

The House of Commons since the Reform Act . . .33

Theories of Individual and of Class Representation . . . 33

Recent Acts embodying the modern theory .... 37

Sir Robert Peel on the influence of property . . . . 38

The Ballot Act 39

Mr. Grote on the Ballot 41

The Parliamentary Elections Act 43

Early history of representation 46

Current controversies as to representation .... 48

The notion of Delegacy 49

Burke on the obligations of Members 50

Conduct of Mr. John Stuart Mill 52

Lord Macaulay on Canvassing 52

Lord Macaulay on Pledges 54

Duration of Parliaments ........ 55

Modern recognition of individual political claims . . . 56

Representation of Minorities ....... 57

Schemes for substituting personal for local representation . 59

Necessary effect of Minority Representation on the character

of the House 61

True and false majorities 62

The true claim of majorities ....... 63

Political Associations 64

'Party Government' 66

Burke on party ties 66

Historic origin of Party Government 67

Its foundation in nature 69

Its value as a political expedient ...... 70

Peel on the limits of party loyalty 72

Section II.—Privileges and Order of Proceedings.

Constitutional importance of Parliamentary methods . . 74

Petitions 75

Debates on petitions 76

Contents. xiii


Publication of proceedings:—Stockdalc v. Hansard 77

Restriction of publication :—' Committee of Foreign Loans'

case 7!1

Exclusion of strangers 80

Working of the new rule 81

Bight of the House to punish for contempt . . . 83

Obstruction of business in the House 84

Working of the new rule in the case of Major O'Gorman . 80

Business of private Members and of Government ... 88

The half-past twelve rule 90

Nature and scope of private Bills . . ... 91

Procedure with regard to private Bills 98

Possible substitution of permanent functionaries for Select

Committees 95

Extension of such a system to Ireland and the Dependencies 95

Opinion of Earl Russell 96

Supply 96

Mr. Reginald Palgrave on the Committee of Public Accounts 99

Procedure of the Lords 99

Sir W. Vernon Harcourt on the privileges of the Lords . . 100

The Lord Chancellor as Speaker of the Upper House (note) . 101

Section 111.—Home Legislation.

Directions taken by recent legislation 103

Removal of religious disqualifications . . . . 104

Attitude of Parliament towards the Established Church . 106

Parliamentary interference with endowed institutions . . 107

Reform of the Church of England 109

The Dissenters' Chapels Act Ill

Claim of Parliament to deal with religious institutions as

social facts 112

Reform of educational endowments 113

University reform 113

Endowed Schools reform 115

Reform of charitable institutions 117

Reform of Municipal Corporations 119

Principles of recent economic legislation . . . . . 121

The Bank Charter Act 123

New relation of the Bank of England to the State . . . 125

Legislation with reference to other Banks . . . .126

Legislation with regaid to Public Companies . . . . 126

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